Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wow!! It's been a long time.

So many things going on in our life since we last blog and mostly I just post on Facebook and I do that infrequently as well. So so so many things have happened so I will enumerate them below and fill in with pictures.

1. We finished our house and we moved in in June 2014.

2. In May 2014 we began the process to adopt our fourth daughter, Langley, and proceeded to the doctor in January 2015.

3, in summer 2014 Ethan was scouted onto a hockey team in Canada and proceeded to move to Canada in August 2015 to go to school and play hockey. He returned from Canada in May 2015 and is now signed with the juniors level hockey team in Ontario California and will be living at home next school year which we are thrilled about. He will be a senior in high school.

All the kids are doing great and I will throw some pictures and of our recent vacations. 

Ethan will be 17 in August and a senior in high school and is obviously heavily into hockey and this will probably be his last year he lives at home. He also works at a golf course as a cart boy this summer. 

Owen is almost 15 and will be a sophomore in high school and plays hockey and skateboards constantly. He also works at a board shop and a saving to buy a car when he gets his license in a year.

Mia is going into third grade! I can't believe she is almost 9. She will be nine in October and is loving gymnastics. 

Finley is going in to second grade and will be eight in October. She is our soccer crazy kid and is pretty darn good! She refuses to do gymnastics because that is just too girly so you can obviously see the dynamic there. 

Emery is now four years old and will be starting preschool in the fall. She is loving having a little sister and is a sweet heart all around. 

Langley turned two in March and we brought her home from China in January 2015. She had surgery to repair cleft palate in March 2015 and is recovering and doing very well. She is heavily in speech therapy right now and will begin preschool in March.

Kevin and I are doing well. As you will recall Kevin was retired from police work because of his hip replacement and has been able to stay home with the girls. He will probably venture into a second career when the girls are finally in school. I have now started full-time with the school district and still have my private practice on the side. Things are busy but they are also great! Obviously the kids keep us busy but we are enjoying living in Upland and are still involved quite a bit at our church. 

Ethan in Canada 

Getting Langley 

In china
Getting home 
All the girls at church 
Chinese New Year 
Langley surgery in March 
I our back yard 
Craniofacial clinic
Emery being silly
The whole family a month ago
Emery at Hume lake
Fin at Hume 
Mia Langley and I at Hume 
Girls at Hume 
My boys 
Ethan and his girlfriend dayna. She lives in Canada 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Best Article EVER!!!!

I just read this article and loved it so much I had to post it on my blog. It is AWESOME!! It is exactly what I have thought forever! We coddle our kids. We tell them they are good at everything. We don't let them suffer the consequences of their actions. All of these things are creating a generation of kids who cant fend for themselves, make decisions, have no work ethic and cant  handle disappointments. They are lacking in so many areas because WE are doing it to them!!! 

This article is awesome and I could have literally written it myself. I see this in the schools and working with kids. It is SOOOOO true! I get a bit of flack for not stepping in when my kids do stupid stuff and allowing them to suffer the natural consequences of their actions. I also get flack for telling my kids NO!! If they didn't earn it then they don't get it. Just because the boys broke a hockey stick does not mean I need to run out and buy them one-- they need to earn it and work for it and then I am happy to replace the stick. I also get flack for the "risky behaviors" I allow. These "risky behaviors" involve allowing the kids to climb OVER the play set or swing from a part of the swings that might cause my girls to get hurt. I allow them to scale walls and God forbid they might fall and get hurt-- oh well-- they will learn not to do that in the future-- right?? I catch a lot of flack for all kinds of parenting decisions but I will tell you that I am raising responsible kids that know I am not going to bale them out or give them an inflated sense of self worth. My kids will know what they are good at and what they are not good at and I will make them earn the things they want-- not need-- but want. I talk to my boys and tell them the stupid things I did and we talk through their decisions. I let my kids play outside till the street lights come on-- just like we did-- and I punish when they do stupid stuff. This is not rocket science. I raise my kids like I was raised 30+ years ago. 

We have dumbed down our kids and our kids and their futures are suffering. Do you want to know how many classes on field trips go down to the farm where Kevin farms - and the parents are bathing their in sanitizer for fear they might get germs on them. Do you know how many parents see Emery and the other little farm kids roaming unattended playing all day who ask "whose kids are those and why are they not being watched?" The parents are not letting the kids be kids. They hover over the kids and insulate their world so that nothing bad happens to them. Guess what parents??? That's not the real world and a generation has now been launched who were raised that way and IT IS NOT WORKING!!!! These kids are inept and they are not ready for hard work. They have no work ethic because if they don't like the work and it is not making them "happy" then they quit. NO WORK ETHIC!!! These kids have no idea how to work hard because they never had to hold a job because their parents didn't want them to "be distracted from their studies." Guess what?? Studies show the kids who worked-- like I did and like my 15 year old son did all last summer-- got better grades then the kids who didnt work!! They learn how to prioritize and multi-task and most importantly-- HOW TO WORK HARD!!! They learn that they might not be "happy" in what they are doing or maybe not even like the work they are doing-- BUT, after the end of the day, they earned money and that pushes them to go back the next day. 

People, please read this article. It's important for your kids. I'm not saying I am perfect-- my goodness Kevin and I are far from perfect-- but we try to parent realistically much like my parents did 30+ years ago. Its not perfect and honestly it would be easier if I were more indulgent with my kids- but I will not do that to them. To let them experience delayed gratification is sooooo important. Would it be easier to just give it to them and not hear the whining? ABSOLUTELY!! Would I be teaching my kids  that they get anything they want WHENEVER they want it?  YES!! And I will not do that to them. 

Anyway, i will post the link as well as the article is below.

While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Tim had this to share about the 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:

1. We don’t let our children experience risk
We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

2. We rescue too quickly
Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and over-indulge our children with “assistance,” we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. It’s parenting for the short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, kids get used to someone rescuing them: “If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.” When in reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.

3. We rave too easily
The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend a little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner. This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality. When we rave too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it.

4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what they really value and need. As parents, we tend to give them what they want when rewarding our children, especially with multiple kids. When one does well in something, we feel it’s unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds. Be careful not to teach them a good grade is rewarded by a trip to the mall. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.
5. We don’t share our past mistakes
Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.

6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That’s not the case. Some professional athletes and Hollywood starlets, for example, possess unimaginable talent, but still get caught in a public scandal. Just because giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no magic “age of responsibility” or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves than your child does, you may be delaying your child’s independence.

7. We don’t practice what we preach
As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. To help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their words and actions. As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies will surface and slowly erode character. Watch yourself in the little ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice too. If you don’t cut corners, for example, they will know it’s not acceptable for them to either. Show your kids what it means to give selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or with a community group. Leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will take note and do the same.
Why do parents engage in these behaviors (what are they afraid of if they don’t)? Do these behaviors come from fear or from poor understanding of what strong parenting (with good boundaries) is?

Tim shares:
“I think both fear and lack of understanding play a role here, but it leads with the fact that each generation of parents is usually compensating for something the previous generation did. The primary adults in kids’ lives today have focused on now rather than later. It’s about their happiness today not their readiness tomorrow. I suspect it’s a reaction. Many parents today had Moms and Dads who were all about getting ready for tomorrow: saving money, not spending it, and getting ready for retirement. In response, many of us bought into the message: embrace the moment. You deserve it. Enjoy today. And we did. For many, it resulted in credit card debt and the inability to delay gratification. This may be the crux of our challenge. The truth is, parents who are able to focus on tomorrow, not just today, produce better results.”
How can parents move away from these negative behaviors (without having to hire a family therapist to help)?
Tim says: “It’s important for parents to become exceedingly self-aware of their words and actions when interacting with their children, or with others when their children are nearby. Care enough to train them, not merely treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle. “
Here’s a start:
1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.
2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.
3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.
4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.
5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.
6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.
7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.
8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.
9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.
10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Updates house

Here are some new pictures of the house that were taken a couple days ago. They're planning on wrapping the house this week and the inside insulation and drywall start. We're still hoping for April completion date. Things of been going well and are moving quite rapidly. Kevin is doing a huge portion of the electrical and many other things to save money so he is pretty much been at the house every day. It's a lot of work but we can't wait for the pay off in less money owed as well as him having a hand in the building of our house.

This is a view of the kind of the breakfast room from the kitchen.

Backside of the house is pretty much French doors that will look out into the pool eventually

The little wall in the middle of the room is actually the island that the cabinets will but up again. It is where the large kitchen island will be.

This is the view into the dining area of the great room. There is no separation between the living area and the dining area. The dining area is the part with the three new windows that have yet to be placed. The area to the left of that is the fireplace with two windows on each side and that is the living area. It is a huge room.

This is the view of the living area with the fireplace and the two windows on each side. You can also see the three windows that my dining room.

Again, the dining area but you can also see where the three French doors out to a courtyard will be in on the other side of the courtyard is a separate structure which is a casita which will eventually be my office for my private practice. It has a bathroom closet shower and will function as an office but bedroom as well.

Stairs to upstairs. The landing area where my dad almost then goes down into the mudroom on the other side which is a feature about the house that I absolutely love. Two sides of the staircase a really cool I love having a mid room. 

I didn't take a lot of pictures of upstairs because it's really hard to tell with just a bunch of framing and pipes in the wall that this is the bonus room and off of this room is the boys rooms As well as the bathroom.

The Picture below is of the window going into the entry  for our bedroom bathroom and closet. It's an awesome open area and should be a really gracious entry into the master suite. We did not do a huge master suite since we spent hardly any time in our own bedroom anyway but we wanted to maximize the views as well as have a light bright window in the actual Corredor to lighten things up here

Friday, December 13, 2013

The house

The house is coming along amazingly well. The plumbers and the air-conditioner and electricians all started today. It's about two weeks away from the combination inspection where the house will be closed up. Windows go in Monday the fireplace went in today and it is moving along at a rate that should be able to put us in by mid March or the beginning of April. I'm praying for mid-March. This process is a lot of fun but it also is extremely taxing with the ridiculous amounts of decisions you have to make immediately. We do a pretty good job making decisions because Kevin and I are not overly picky but it is a lot of stress. Furthermore, Kevin is doing all of the electrical with his dad and a few friends so that adds another stress level. Kevin is doing quite a few of the steps along the way for us to save money. 

This whole house thing came out of being so upside down on our current home. As we've moved along in the project it is been so clear that this is Gods plan for our life and every way with regards to the new house. Every door has swung open and every door on our old house has been slammed shut. We will be able to put renters in our current house and hope that in a few years we should be at value or even above value and then be able to sell. We feel extremely grateful that this whole process has been able to happen but this home is really not a dream home or at home that we are thinking of every single detail at all. This home is a functional home that does not have a ridiculous bells and whistles rather it is a home to be lived in that will nurture our family. Downstairs literally has no walls. It is one huge giant room that will be a functional living space. Not one inch of the house is unusable. There is no room that is a showpiece or a masterpiece at all. It is 100% usable. People keep referring to our home as a dream home or a masterpiece and Kevin then I laugh every time that happens because it's so far from what this really is. This was a wonderful opportunity to be able to build a home that will suit our family well that we can do it for a modest budget. To build a home in California is cheaper then to buy a home therefore we took advantage of the fact that we were able to build. The issue with California is the land. It is extremely expensive to buy land in California and it is extremely difficult to find land in California. We got extremely lucky - i.e. the first door that swung open- and that allowed us to buy the land at a significantly undervalue price. The land has a water easement on the property which deters some but for us it made it more valuable and it also made it about $100,000 under value and it actually wasn't even for sale. All the factors that went into us finding the land were extremely God in every way! It wasn't for sale -it was a price we actually had the money for and it was extremely undervalue. Those factors in California just don't happen, therefore we jump on it and felt like God was telling us to do it - so we did and we are exceedingly thankful!!!!

I am going to post pictures right now that I took today of the house but it's going to be really difficult to understand the parts of it until I can get home and explain each picture. I'm posting on my phone right now so I will not be able to explain the pictures until I get home. I'll try to do that right away.

 I'm going to continually update the blog with pictures of the progress. It's fun to watch every day that change so I will try to share it as well

Front of house by sign

Actually taken yesterday or day before

View from master bedroom. Every window has an Absolutly amazing view!!

View from other side of master- without the haze you could see the valley

Stairs go into mud room or into great room. Both stairs end up on landing. Can I express how excited I am to have a mud room!!!

Great room. Fireplace went in today. Bookshelves and windows on each side of fireplace. Big blank wall
Next to fireplace will have 3 large 6 foot windows so we don't block the view. We changed that this week so they will cut the windows next week. They already ordered them. 

View out French doors by dining room area (the section separated into 3) and the front door is the other hole. 

Front door and stairs. There will be a bathroom and closet tucked in there 

View towards kitchen and sun room ( I guess a breakfast room- not sure what to call it)

Two sets of French doors looking out the back of the house towards what will
Eventually be the pool

Looking towards kitchen breakfast area

View from dining room area French doors over across court yard to casita (detached bedroom and bathroom that will Function as an office for cornerstone)

Back wall is part kitchen and part of sun room 

Same view

View down stairs into great room 

View up stairs from landing